The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date: 6/12/15.
This is a fairy tale retelling, but one that feels totally different to me. Kat literally falls into an old book of the Cinderella story and wakes up as Lady Katriona in a whole different world that she dubs Storybook World. Her mission, given to her by a goblin named Krev, is to complete the story in order to return home to the modern world and her family. In other words, she has to get the prince to meet and marry Cinderella, named Elle in this book, so they live happily ever after. In the process, Kat finds herself appalled by the way children and women are treated in this land and becomes an activist for their rights. She also falls in love with the wrong person and has to decide if she wants to stay here or return to her family in her own world. I thought this book might be kind of silly, but I ended up really liking it. It was obviously a Cinderella story, but was told in a whole different way that made it truly its own story. I will be purchasing this one for my high school library and recommending it when school starts back in August.
My rating: 4/5
The Heir (The Selection Series #4) by Kiera Cass
*****SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES*****
Well, being that I am a princess ;), my love of this series is probably not surprising to most. I ordered The Selection for my school library when it first came out and I have been hooked since. I like to describe it as Divergent meets The Bachelor franchise. This particular installment focuses on the life of the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America, named Eadlyn, who is expect to ascend to the throne fairly soon for her turn as Queen. As we know from the previous books, Maxon and America were striving to eliminate the Caste system that was used to “rank” people in their society. Since they worked so hard and achieved their goals, they have endured a lot of stress in their time of ruling the country. People are starting to get agitated again and still don’t feel that the society is operating the way it should. Outside of the caste system, people have been told they can do whatever they want in life, choose whatever career makes them happy; but that has not necessarily been happening. The people also do not see Eadlyn in a pleasant light—the fact that she is female, thinking she is too young, and that she is a bit standoffish or spoiled. To try to rally that support of the country and lift their spirits, the royal family decides it would be a good idea to hold another Selection, this time for the future queen. She is not interested in any way, shape, or form in finding a suitor but comes to an agreement with her father, planning on making it through a certain amount of time and hopefully driving the boys away on her own. Of course, she doesn’t expect that there will actually be some decent guys among the group and finds herself confused when she starts to like some of them. Through some important events and discussions with family, she decides she should probably take this a little more seriously instead of seeing it as just entertainment for the masses.
Though I hated the way this book ended, I do realize that we have to be kept wanting and waiting for the next book in the series, so I do understand the ending. I did like several of the characters in the book, particularly Hale and Henri….Eadlyn was okay, but I thought she was a bit melodramatic (a spoiled princess, perhaps?) and seemed to make life harder for herself. I thought her brothers were fun, well thought out characters who I can see having more prominent roles in future books (maybe?). This is a fun, quick read that is as interesting as the rest of the series was. I have to say I’m glad Kiera Cass decided to keep it going! I am hoping to see Eadlyn grown into a more personable character that appreciates all she has.
My rating: 4/5